Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of solutions

16th December 2018

Solutions - legal solutions, technical solutions, rubber solutions. They're all in the mix this week as industry winds down towards Christmas.

So, 'twas Monday morning and as usual, an early start off to Tunstead. So early in fact I actually got there for nine a.m. instead of the few-minutes-after that I had been settling for of late. And joy of joys, we had Andrew Hn back as welder and welding tackle to boot! He immediately made a start on a support frame to carry the hydraulic oil tank that will feed the torque converter. It is always fascinating to see fabricators creating something without drawings to work to. Using angle and strip I'd brought up, he proceeded to make an L-shaped assembly, complete with criss-crossed lattice stiffeners whose back section was tall enough to be bolted through the cab front and give us space to fill through the filler cap on top. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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Last week we'd been looking at the aluminium castings that form the radiator top and bottom tanks and side walls, and concluded that an aluminium primer would be a constructive step. So I'd brought a small tin up with me. It turned out to have a rather nice hue, not red oxide, not mauve, but a sort of matt reddish shade, a sultry lipstick, perhaps. Meanwhile Pete C and George were finishing getting the remaining brake blocks back on, and reminding me about the taper pin for one side rod collar that I thought was in the van, but couldn't be found.

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Each block, incidentally, is secured by a tabbed pin that is secured to the block with a 1/2 inch Whit tapped hole, hence taking rather longer to fit than the more common headed-pin-plus-split. With those ready for setting up, they moved on to the front lower coolant connection, cutting a new joint out of cork sheet and a silicon hose for the engine end. Me? I was oscillating between toddling out to the van to get X or Y and continuing wiring up the engine by assembling flexible conduit and dragging wires through. Given that the connector box end was also right next to where Andrew Hn was locating his support frame, this could lead to access complications.

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Andy H continued painting things. Just after lunch, I think it was, we wanted to try the casing section back on so that we could determine the best height for the hydraulic oil tank, free from obstruction, accessible for topping up, and with sufficient head to make life reasonably sanguine for the elderly charge pump. But the casing wouldn't fit at first. Although it had come off intact 18 months ago the base mounting bracket at the the left hand side jammed on the fuel filler pipe and so it all had to come off for the bracket to be undone. On the second attempt it slid down and lined up, giving the characteristic RS8 shape long enough for me to record how much space there was in various places and Andrew Hn time to determine how high to mount the hydraulic oil res.

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The mounting frame was duly fitted, then immediately removed and handed over for priming before I thought to nab a picture. Andrew Hn had been told that he'd got the first window frame in upside down - I dunno who told him as I didn't think it was a game-stopper - and insisted on cutting through the old hinges and starting again. Hopefully he'll be back tomorrow and we'll see him progress the cab work leaving me to resume hosing and wiring. Looking at the casings in place, it struck me that certain places, such as the overlapping pieces on the cab front and behind the radiator, would be a so-and-so to paint once the casings are in place so it was decided that a small tin of Golden Yellow would be a good idea so that these could be painted first. Threads continue to be a problem. Hard on the heels of the air connection that was Enots, I have a problem with the compressor delivery: the tapping in the compressor cylinder head appears to be a 7/8 inch but 16TPI, which falls between UNC and UNF. It doesn't match anythig else that I know of, but the nipple carries a Rolls-Royce part number, for what it is worth, and the other thread on the nipple is also 16TPI, but 15/16 of an inch. I think some bodgery is coming up. This is clearly going to tax my patience in the near future. Another thing to tax my patience is my own fault- I should have designed the electrical system fully before committing to the instrument panel. Now I have two 3-colour LEDs and a keyswitch to incorporate. The latter is a particular problem as it doesn't really want a round hole, else it starts rotating. So while Andrew Hn was busy welding, I went up in the cab and decided a good place to locate the switch with the idea of cutting a round hole then getting Andrew Hn to add a blob of weld that I could file to make the switch fit without spinning. Before I got this far I realised that the side wall of the instrument panel (my preferred location) was too thick for the switch anyway.

I have a solution, but it will have to wait for the new year. In the immediate future though, I decided to bring back the instrument panel and wire it up back at Darley Dale, where I could do so without interruption.

Andrew has been on at me to get some shuttering ply in ready for us to install at the weekend, so this was achieved during the week, plus I spent an hour on the Portakabin with some liquid rubber solution painting around where I thought the leak might be. It is apparent that at some time in the past the roof had been patched with a piece of ply that had now disintegrated, leaving screw holes and such, so I hoped to have got a seal on it all.

This weekend something cropped up meaning that Andrew was away, and so I had the weekend to myself and after sundry other tasks, got down to the shed on Saturday afternoon.

It was bitterly cold and wet. I went in to the Portakabin to see if my efforts had borne fruit and no, water was dripping steadily in, but at least I had a better idea where from. (As I write this the idea of a suitable portion of ex van roof canvas sheet as a patch is coming into my mind.) I repaired to the shed, suitably dis-chuffed. During the week I had made a revision to RS8s main wiring schematic. The principle of most starting systems is to incorporate a timer which provides a temporary bridge across the loop that connects the engine protective switches to allow the engine time to build oil pressure and make the loop itself. The timer relays I had had spare, such as that I used on 03 901, were all used up (one written off when the alternator reg on 03 901 failed and took the voltage up to about 40V) so I'd bought a new one but which was configured differently. My earlier scheme, I had realised, wasn't matching the manufacturer's diagram for the function I wanted ('off delay with signal control') and so I had changed it on the CAD drawing, as well as some other improvements to make better use of the LED indicators, which I now was drilling holes through the instrument panel to fit. Re-wiring the control relay panel was on my list, but it would have been more productive had I remembered to take the revised diagram with me! Never mind, I had plenty of other bits to do, including mounting a voltage regulator and installing its heat sink.

I was walking around the shed looking for something (I forget what) when on the floor in front of me I saw the taper pin I'd been looking for in the van the previous two Mondays. This is a trifle spooky. It is not as if I haven't walked over that particular piece of floor - on the contrary it's a regular rat-run - yet I had never spotted the pin there and here it was with 10 inches of uncluttered floor in each direction. Andrew was moaning that he could not find his brand new lump hammer last week - I've looked too and don't know where it's gone, perhaps it will suddenly re-materialise. As I left in the evening the PIR that controls the light over the door was playing up. It was coming on for no reason. I tried to alter the sensitivity but it seemed to make no difference and I was getting wet. In the end I watched it from the comparative warmth of the van. As I watched, it went off, then after a few seconds on again. Spooky.

Sunday was similar but the weather was less cold and drier and I remembered to bring down the diagram. I revised the relay panel, and moved on to the instrument panel. To make life easier, I'd decided to cable the panel up to multi-pin plugs, the mates of which can be pre-assembled and quickly made off at Tunstead. The ones I used are a commercial plastic moulding with barbed pins: you crimp the wires into the pins and latch the pins in the moulding. I have a special crimping tool for this. Could I find it? I reckon it might have run off to Gretna Green with Andrew's lump hammer. Pointy nosed pliers are nowhere near as good as the real device, so I made up a lot of the wires but coudn't add the pins. The LEDs ,meanwhile have solder terminals. At home I have a stock of traditional multi-core solder that should out-last me, but all I had at the shed was some lead-free stuff that is singularly poor by comparison. I have had more productive days.

Late in the afternoon rain started - it sounds much worse on the shed roof than it really is outside, but it can be depressing. By half-five I was hunking all the bits back out to the van to take to Tunstead tomorrow, and heading home.

Some of my regular readers will have noticed that there has been little mention of grandson of late - some have even written in to enquire. Well hopefully a solution to that issue has been achieved - on Friday Andrew won a Court order against his ex partner to restore contact, which she has refused over the last 8 months. we hope that grandson will be with us and his Dad for Christmas. We'll know by this time next week, see ya then?

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